Earlier this month I repeated a matter of common industry knowledge about Ben Affleck and Gavin O’Connor‘s The Way Back (Warner Bros., 3.6). Affleck has been famously struggling with alcohol issues for years, and so (in the realm of the film) is “Jack Cunningham”, a former basketball star who bends the elbow. The film is therefore self-portraiture to some extent.
Today a N.Y. Times profile of Affleck, written by Brooks Barnes, acknowledges the obvious and offers Affleck a forum by which to admit his past sins and express regrets.
The photos reveal that Affleck is no longer the “fat bearded boozer” he plays in O’Connor’s film. He’s sober (for now), shaven and relatively slender. Then again, as Barnes’ piece reports, Affleck has had three stints in rehab (in ’01, ’17 and ’18) and then he relapsed last fall.
Affleck admission #1: “I drank relatively normally for a long time. What happened was that I started drinking more and more when my marriage was falling apart. This was 2015, 2016. My drinking, of course, created more marital problems.
Affleck admission #2: “It’s not particularly healthy for me to obsess over the failures — the relapses — and beat myself up. I have certainly made mistakes. I have certainly done things that I regret. But you’ve got to pick yourself up, learn from it, learn some more, try to move forward.”
Affleck admission #3: “People with compulsive behavior, and I am one, have this kind of basic discomfort all the time…[they’re] trying to make yourself feel better with eating or drinking or sex or gambling or shopping or whatever. But that ends up making your life worse. Then you do more of it to make that discomfort go away. Then the real pain starts. It becomes a vicious cycle you can’t break. That’s at least what happened to me.”
Affleck admission #4: “Relapse is embarrassing, obviously. I wish it didn’t happen. I really wish it wasn’t on the internet for my kids to see. Jen and I did our best to address it and be honest.”
The Way Back opens two and a half weeks hence, but nobody I know has seen it.
Note: If I’m not mistaken the N.Y. Times used to capitalize the “i” in internet – no longer.